Boss, it's time for my power nap
THE latest buzz word in improving employee productivity and enhancing your work-life balance is "nap time".
Even though this is a term that we would normally expect to hear at a childcare centre instead of a corporate office, nap times have slowly but surely entered the business world.
Companies like Google, Ben & Jerry's and Nike, which are often ahead of the curve when it comes to promoting positive work culture, have incorporated nap rooms and snooze-friendly policies.
But sleep deprivation is not just confined to a certain country or company. A lack of sleep has been recognised as a silent but significant contributor to reduced productivity at work, including in Singapore.
In today's competitive work environment, it is common to work late or handle conference calls after work hours.
Yet, a lack of sleep can negatively impact one's memory, decision-making skills, creativity, mood and ability to read other people - all of which are crucial in the workplace, especially for those in leadership positions.
What is worse is that people who are constantly sleep-deprived are at a greater risk of health problems like diabetes, hypertension and depression.
A Harvard Medical School study estimated that sleep deprivation costs United States businesses more than US$63 billion (S$85 billion) in lost productivity every year.
This has caused some companies to wake up and take notice. However, while some organisations have drawn up snooze policies at the office, others are still closing an eye to the problem.
Should your workplace fall into the latter category, here are some tips to help you clock enough sleep and remain alert in the office.
1. HOW MUCH SLEEP YOU NEED
Typically, most people need around eight hours of sleep a day to function effectively but this may not apply for all.
For example, I know someone who sleeps about five hours a day and his general approach at work remains unimpaired, as far as I can observe.
The easiest way to figure out the amount of sleep you need is to go to bed without setting an alarm, and take note of the time you wake up naturally.
2. BE DISCIPLINED
Once you are aware of how much sleep you need, make sure to meet that number of hours, no matter what.
For example, I have set myself a "no work after 9pm" rule. This stops me from constantly checking and responding to e-mail messages at night, which had previously led to my bedtime being pushed back an hour or more.
If there is indeed an emergency at work, someone from the office will surely call you, not send an e-mail.
Being disciplined also means not letting TV, mobile games or other distractions prevent you from going to bed on time.
3. TAKE POWER NAPS
You do not have to wait for a nap room to be set up in order to take a 20- to 30-minute power nap during lunch break.
If you feel drowsy during the day, a quick snooze at your desk or in an unused meeting room can do wonders.
You would feel more refreshed in the afternoons.
Do remember to set an alarm though, as you do not want to accidentally take a three-hour nap on office time.
In addition to seriously annoying your boss, long snoozes mean you enter deep sleep and are more likely to wake up feeling groggy. Longer naps are also likely to interfere with your regular sleep pattern.
Although sleeping on the job was previously implausible, more forward-thinking organisations are now encouraging quick snoozes at work in exchange for better performance.
A power-nap provides exactly what it promises - a lot more power.
Deepa Shahi is a mentor at
Terrific Mentors International,
an organisation that provides
mentoring, coaching and training.